552 Tasting Notes

70

I was surprised at the flatness of the batch of Black Needles I got. Flat taste, I mean. I got some of the pepper but only a teasing hint of musk, and then a stale-wininess. Has a sharp scent, almost of sweat. If this had been my first ever black needle Yunnan, I might have liked it better, but my local teashop and Stash Teas both supply better versions.

A decent tea, but not an excellent black needle Yunnan.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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100

Back to the Stash black needle Yunnan after a flirt with David’s Tea Black Needles while I longingly wait for my local teashop to get their supply of Yunnan back …

oh, sweet musky toasty peppery bliss. So clean. Winey. Very smooth.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Michelle Butler Hallett

Second infusion, 19 hours later — how’s that for a test? — needs a longer coax, say, 6-7 minutes, but oh my oh my … not quite as toasty but still exquisite.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Okay, how about this? Fresh leaves, left to steep in a covered — forgotten about for 11 minutes — still amazing? Not one bit bitter or barky. Strong, perhaps a little smokier (faint wisp) and less peppery than my idea steep, but an amazingly resilient tea. I just wish it was easier to get.

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74

Hoo ha! Sharp! Amazing lemon scent with hot ginger undertones. Delicious and soothing ginger heat to the mouthfeel and swallow. Have tried many lemon ginger teas before and been bored. This one uses a decent green base, not too assertive, and some smooooooth ginger and lemon. Three ingredients: organic green tea, organic ginger root, natural essential lemon oil. I bet Electric Lemon would be fabulous on a bitter cold morning or when fighting off a head cold, stomach bug or (shudder) flu.

I gave it a longish steep for a green and did not add any sweetener.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 30 sec
Michelle Butler Hallett

Ooops … got this as a sample with an oder of Christmas gifts. Used 1TB to 10oz water.

heatherwassing

I’m in the midst of a very taxing piece of work and the winter collection is going to be my Good Job reward once I’m done. Thanks for the review!

Michelle Butler Hallett

I got a sample of the Chocolate Chili Chai, too, and I a saving that for a good stopping point in the story I’m drafting. My incentive. And it’s not even a carrot.

Seriously, Heather, I think using good tea as a reward after work gets done is a brilliant idea. That could definitely help me focus. Thanks for mentioning it.

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83

Incredible aroma of earth and cocoa and the faintest whiff of tobacco when I ripped open the bag. Using 1 TB for a 10oz cup, in a tea-sac, steeping 7 minutes — they recommend 4 to 7 minutes “or more for a darker brew” — boiling water …

At the 5-minute mark, gives off a scent of straw — clean straw. And earth.

Brews quite dark, looking like a pu’erh, if pu’erh released green and brown instead of red and brown colours.

The organic cocoa nibs add a very “healthy” aroma.

Not grassy like some yerba mates. (Mate and guayusa are cousins, both members of the holly family.) Reminds me a bit of some barkier medicinal tisanes with chicory or dandelion root in them. A slight sharpness to the aroma makes me expect bitterness, but I don’t get any. (I’m trying this first cup unsweetened.) Shares the slight nuttiness of some of the Japanese greens. Smooth if mild cocoa aftertaste; this might come out more with stevia.

I need more time with guayusa. But I’m definitely not sorry I tried it.

Will report later on the promised steady no-crash energy guayusa is supposed to deliver.

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec
Michelle Butler Hallett

Still stoked and focused from the guayusa. Nor manic crazy or anything, but concentration seems better.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Sorry, got my measurements wrong … 1 TB and 16oz/2 cups/500mL water.

Trying it this morning with one packet of stevia, which does not see to sweeten the entire brew, just bring out the cocoa a bit more.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Wow. Quite the steady smoulder of energy. I didn’t dare drink this and yerba mate within the same few hours.

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68

Tried a gentler steep with cooler water tonight … MUCH better. A decent jasmine green.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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66

Malty and bright. Slightly sweeter than Barry’s but not as deep. As with Barry’s, not fancy, but certainly nothing to be ashamed of. I’d make this for guests who ‘just want a normal cup of tea’ without hesitation.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 45 sec

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66

Solid and robust. Very good for a bagged tea. Deliciously malty. Can get bitter. Not fancy, but nothing to sneer at, either.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Bel27

Your budget is very similar to mine

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9

Probably the worst alleged Darjeeling I’ve ever tasted. Very disappointing. No muscatel. Just stale, weak tea.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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55
drank Assam by Twinings
552 tasting notes

Lovely aroma, but it gets bitter quicky.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec

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70

An old favourite. Intriguing blend. Not one bit malty. Loose is better than bagged.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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Profile

Bio

Writer and tea fiend. Author of DELUDED YOUR SAILORS, SKY WAVES, DOUBLE-BLIND, and THE SHADOW SIDE OF GRACE. New novel next spring called THIS MARLOWE.

I prefer straight teas but will try almost anything … so long as it’s not tainted with hibiscus. I loathe hibiscus.

Floral oolong and complex black teas are my favourites.

Location

St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

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